The coalition has some good ideas – most of which totally contradict each other.
People are being told to move to find jobs, at the same as housing benefit is being capped so the unemployed can only live in the poorest, most economically deceased areas. They are being told to travel further to work, while train fares are set to go up 30% and the bus network is being slimmed down. People are being told the government wants to make it pay to work, while cutting working tax credits. The country is being told to tighten their belts for the sake of the next generation, yet tuition fees are going to go up and Vince Cable has specifically said that students who want to pay off their fees quickly will actually be given financial disincentives to do so. Corporation tax is being cut to reward and help job creation – and rightly so – but it is given to all corporations, even the ones dishing out mass redundancies. People are being encouraged to volunteer more, at the same time as support for volunteering groups is being hacked. We are told civil liberties are being restored with less criminalisation and less incarceration, and proper inquests into torture allegations, and the death of Dr Kelly, yet the Communications Director is accused of overseeing phone-tapping and police corruption (these charges are, of course, thoroughly denied by Coulson who is said to be fully cooperating with the police).
It’s not that these are necessarily bad policies in themselves, but to implement them all at once shows a fundamental lack of joined-up thinking. No matter how good an individual policy is, if the policies from the ministry next door cancel it out, it just looks like your cabinet ministers don’t talk to each other for long enough to consider how each policy will affect each department, not to mention the rest of the country. Or, even worse, it looks like they just don’t care.